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Why Ruto allies say BBI could be a blessing in disguise
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|Why Ruto allies say BBI could be a blessing in disguise by Kenyans247(1): Thu 05, November, 2020 03:28pm|
Some allies of Deputy President William Ruto have embraced the proposal to expand the executive, saying it could be a blessing in disguise for the hustler movement to forge a broad-based coalition.
The group, which has welcomed the recommendation to amend the constitution to create the post of Prime Minister and two deputies, argues Dr Ruto could use the new posts to win over new allies to support his bid for president in 2022.
MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Christopher Nakileau (Turkana North) and Daniel Rono (Keiyo South) reckon although some of their colleagues have resisted the proposals, the DP’s camp could dangle the posts to woo leaders from opposing camps.
Mr Barasa, who is keen to have Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya boss Moses Wetang'ula work with Dr Ruto, says if the executive is expanded, it will give the DP more positions, in addition to the running mate’s post, to offer like-minded leaders and persuade them to form a coalition with him ahead of 2022.
He acknowledges although a majority of the DP’s allies have opposed the push for new posts, those who feel the proposals could bolster his chances to form a winning coalition are working to convince their colleagues to look at the brighter side of these recommendations in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
"Some of us who had thrown their weight behind the expanded executive proposal still support it because we believe the DP is likely to benefit from it. He will be in a position to reach out to more leaders to build a coalition and share responsibilities thus bolstering his State House bid," explains Mr Barasa.
Mr Nakileau argues an expanded executive will allow the hustler team to raid their opponents’ camps in search of new allies to form a formidable team ahead of the 2022 polls. He suggests the DP could offer various regions these new posts to try undercut his rivals, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi.
“An expanded executive will be advantageous to Ruto to poach people from Raila, Kalonzo or Mudavadi to form a coalition which can make him win come 2022,” Mr Nakileau says.
But he cautions the new posts alone cannot cure the winner-take-all grievance that has stoked a crisis at each election. “It will not solve election skirmishes which result from the winner-take-all. Going forward, we need to be disciplined about the electoral process,” he adds.
For Mr Rono, the BBI proposals are going to change the 2022 succession matrix and kick-start early campaigns. President Uhuru Kenyatta has resisted pre-mature campaigns arguing they undermine development.
Analysts argue the new executive posts, if endorsed in a referendum scheduled in June, will further entrench pre-election coalitions.
Prof XN Iraki of the University of Nairobi believes coalitions around communities are likely to take the center stage ahead of the next polls with presidential aspirants using the extra positions to court big ethnic groupings.
“Lots of coalitions are coming but very easy to make this time. Give the big five posts to communities likely to get maximum votes. If BBI goes through, presidential polls will be easier and cheaper to win now. We thought with Jubilee and NASA, two big parties like in the USA, would emerge. We might have to go through coalitions first,” explains Prof Iraki.
The BBI report also recommends that the Cabinet is appointed from among MPs.
“BBI architecture no doubt provides great opportunity for political pre-election coalitions on the basis of the executive slots that can be shared. If the proposed amendments are affirmed through a referendum, they will occasion political realignments and coalition making before the 2022 General Election,” says Javas Bigambo.
“Coalitions are definitely going to be there and those in the yes camp will, immediately after the plebiscite, start planning who will be the President, Prime Minister and the deputies. Forget about these things they are telling us now about 35 percent resources to the counties, they will go into 2022 polls knowing who will be who,” says Prof Prof Egara Kabaji.
Constitutional lawyer Bobby Mkangi argues new executive posts give strength to pre-election coalitions but do not necessarily resolve the winner-take-all challenge, as the winning coalition still shares out the positions as agreed in their pre-election agreement.
“Any coalition or alliance will want to win an election, once they win, they have powers of running the government. It is a fallacy that we can have an election which cannot produce a winner and a loser,” Mr Mkangi says.
In the lead-up to the 2017 presidential vote, National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals – Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Wetangula and Isaac Ruto – had agreed on how they would share top government positions had they won the elections.
The first 11 Cabinet slots were to be shared two each, but with Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement allowed three at this first stage.
The principals would have had a free hand to name their own nominees to the 22-member Cabinet.
In the agreement, ODM, which had produced the presidential candidate, was earmarked to get the Finance, Defence, and Education dockets.
Mr Musyoka’s Wiper, besides the deputy president’s slot, was entitled to the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport.
Mr Mudavadi was to be named the premier Cabinet Secretary in charge of Coordination of government with his Amani National Congress (ANC) also expected to have the Interior and Agriculture dockets.
Wetang’ula would have been appointed deputy premier CS in charge of Economic Affairs with his Ford-Kenya set to control the Infrastructure and Energy dockets.
The former Bomet governor was to be named deputy premier CS in charge of Governance and Social Sector Protection and his Chama Cha Mashinani was to nominate Devolution and Health CSs.
Analysts argue by requiring the PM is appointed from the largest party or coalition of parties in the National Assembly, such agreements such as that by Nasa would be respected as conflict with coalition partners would undermine one’s tenure as PM.
According to Prof Ken Oluoch, head of Political Science department at Moi University, already there is a scramble for political realignments.
“We are going to see Uhuru-Raila led team and that of Ruto, if you look at how the bigwigs are realigning themselves. It is clear that we will have more than three alliances and definitely no one will go into the elections alone. In Kenyan politics, main players are just the same people, they are going to realign themselves in the next General Election,” argues Prof Oluoch.
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